A Retro Carnival Wedding

retro carnival wedding


Let’s share a super fun wedding to begin the weekend :-)

Andy and Hayley were married in July at The Malthouse, The Olde Bell, Hurley, nr Henley on Thames. They wanted their wedding to be fun, with a 1950s carnival theme. Think hook and duck table plan, popcorn, balloons, yellow and red, stripey straws and moustaches… ekkk!

Hayley looks super beautiful in her customised tea length dress and bow accessories, while Andy looked awesome in a waistcoat, skinny tie and converse. This is such a fun and vibrant day.

Thanks so much to the brilliant Richard Jones Photography for sharing his images with us.


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Names…. Andy and Hayley

Wedding Date…. 9th July 2011

The Proposal…. hmm it’s a bit racy – in the lake district but Andy got over excited before we made it to anywhere scenic and he burst in to the shower in the hotel room, naked, when I was in there and he got down on one knee with the ring box in hand in the shower! All very steamy!

The Vision for the day…. Retro, 50s, carnival inspired. The order of the day that we both wanted was fun, fun, fun. We were really up for omitting some of the traditions that we didn’t feel necessary and we wanted to put a very personal spin on the day that reflected our personalities. We love to do things a little differently and we wanted our guests to experience something away from the wedding norm.

The Planning process… I am an Event Manager and Andy owns his own event graphics company so as you can imagine the pressure was on to impress! We love project managing and this really became our passion for a year. We hardly had any stressful moments and enjoyed every bit of the planning. Andy was the most helpful and involved fiancée you could ask for and a lot of the ideas were his as well as mine. Most of the planning was undertaken in the pub over bottles of red wine which turns out is a good platform for creativity!

The Venue… The Malthouse, The Old Bell, Hurley, nr Henley on Thames – we didn’t look anywhere else, as this place was perfect. We had a capri marquee in the garden for a carnival/circus feel and had the evening party in the house. We hired a bouncy castle for the garden, and a photobooth in the evening with a prop box. We also hired a comedian called Jay Foreman who sings with his guitar really hilarious songs, he entertained our guests during the reception. For the table plan Andy made a hook a duck (see picture), every duck had a guest name written on it’s back, the guest had to hook their duck and turn it over to find out their table number.

The Dress + Accessories….. The dress was from Windsor and Eton brides, they took a full length Mori Lee dress and completely changed it in to the 50’s dress that it became. Together we added the spilt, the underskirts, the bow sash. The veil was also especially made for me. The shoes were from Rainbow Club Couture and the jewellery was from various vintage online shops.

Finding the dress…. The dress was kind of easy to find because I had a clear picture in my mind of what I wanted so I was quite certain I would have to have it made. Windsor and Eton brides made it so easy, they did all of the alterations in house and helped create my vision.

Groom’s attire… We decided to have a relaxed feel for the groom and the ushers, so we went with vintage style grey suits, just waistcoats and no jackets, with rolled up sleeves, skinny black ties and converse trainers.

The Readings + Music…. We asked my brother to read The Places you Go by Dr Suess which is really funny and quite apt, he is a great speaker so really brought it to life. I walked down the aisle with my dad to “Good Riddance (Time of your Life) ” by Green Day, I have always loved this song and the words seemed so appropriate, it was the perfect choice for us. We left the ceremony to “Don’t look Back in to the Sun” by the Libertines, this is one of Andy’s favourite bands and a song we used to play a lot when we first got together.

Beautiful bridesmaids…. 4 bridesmaids in red and yellow. Their dresses were from Dessy. 3 best friends and my twin sister as Maid of Honour.

The Cake… We decided not to have one!

Your Photographer…. Richard Jones Photography. Richard was the most perfect photographer, not only is he a childhood friend of Andy’s but the most incredibly talented and switched on guy! He really ‘got’ what we were trying to achieve and although he felt unsure for us about wanting all candid pictures and no formal guest pictures he still let us do our thing. When explaining what we wanted from our ‘couple’ shots he really understood the brief and nailed it. We did some experimental stuff that paid off  and my favourite picture of all is the one of us in the bath tub. I planned the pictures ensuring we had a red balloon to hand, I made sure we had fake moustaches to hand and I also bought in matching girls converse trainers to Andy’s to get those in a shot. I think we worked really well together and it made for some great results.

The Details + Decor…. The save the dates, invitations, name places, and general theming of the event was designed by Greg Bates at Zeppelin Creative. He really captured the essence of our day before it had even happened. Of course all of the details and larger scale items such as the photo board,  hook the duck and personalised bunting was all designed and produced by Andy’s own company Mustard Solutions Ltd. The tiny details such as the Pimms in jam jars with stripy straws, pop corn cartons, fake moustaches on sticks and helium filled balloons for table numbers were all hand made by myself.

The Honeymoon…. I handed the reigns over to Andy for this one as he wanted to organise the whole thing as a surprise. He didn’t reveal the location until we got the check in desk at the airport. We flew to New York for 4 days and stayed in the Ink 48 Hotel which was amazing and then flew on to Jamaica to the Sandals Royal Caribbean resort for 10 nights. It was pure bliss!

Memorable moments… I have to say that despite all of the planning that went in to the reception/party it was the ceremony that completely blew us both away. We both had just sort of taken for granted that once we had written our own vows, chosen an amusing reading and picked the slightly unconventional music that rest would just take care of itself, and it did but neither of us was prepared for the feeling of standing in front of each other and making those commitments. It was the most incredible moment and we will never forget it! It felt as though we were the only people in the room.

Other memorable moments def include sneaking away during the wedding breakfast because we couldn’t face our food, and having 10 mins to ourselves to away from everyone.

Advice for other couples… if you love organising things then relish every minute, as they day goes by in a flash. On the day you probably wont be worried about the little details anymore because you are overcome with excitement but all the hard work you have put in is soaked up by your guests so if you have the patience and enthusiasm go for all of the little things that you might not think will get noticed, they do! It takes a lot to create a strong theme, so keep going until your energy and money runs out!

Credit where credit is due…

Dress – Windsor and Eton Brides http://www.windsorandetonbrides.com/
Hair and Makeup – Flutterby Beauty http://www.flutterbyprobeauty.com/
Band –
Photobooth – Pictureblast http://www.pictureblast.co.uk/
Venue – The Olde Bell http://www.theoldebell.co.uk/
Shoes – Rainbow Couture – http://www.rainbowclub.co.uk/
Event signage and branding – Mustard Solutions www.mustardsolutions.co.uk
Wedding stationary – Zeppelin Creative www.zeppelincreative.com
Flowers – Lavender Green www.lavendergreen.co.uk
Photographer – Richard Jones Phorography http://www.richardjones-photography.com/
Honeymoon – Eton Travel www.etontravel.com
Comedian / singer – Jay Foreman http://www.jayforeman.co.uk/
Marquee and furniture hire – Alfresco marquees http://www.alfrescomarqueehire.co.uk/


Wow what a fun and colourful wedding, i wish i got to be there :-) Thanks so much to Andy and Hayley for sharing their wedding with us today XOXO Lou

8 thoughts on “A Retro Carnival Wedding

Hi, Your wedding looks lovely and like such a fantastic day… I was just wondering where you got the wholesale rubber ducks with hooks in from please? Thank you Hannah XX

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